Wellington: Two Australian climbers have fallen 300 metres to their deaths in New Zealand after it appeared a rope connecting the pair was severed on sharp rocks, rescuers said Thursday.
Brett Lentfer, 62, and James Spaile, 44, were on a guided ascent of the Remarkables mountain range near the southern tourist resort of Queenstown when the accident happened on Wednesday.
“The initial report I got was… somehow the rope was cut,” Chris Prudden of the Queenstown Mountain Rescue team said.
“The ropes are incredibly strong but sharp rocks can do the damage really quickly. That’s not surprising given the nature of the terrain.”
The Grand Traverse track on the Remarkables is described on the Queenstown Mountain Guides website as “suitable for climbers with previous mountaineering and rock climbing experience” and “one of the most classic single day alpine routes” in New Zealand climbing.
“The steep, exposed and sustained ridge line provides excellent rock climbing on with incredible views 2000m down the west face of the Remarkables to Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown,” the website said.